There is one thing that will become obvious for many companies over the coming months, if not already, is that their digital transformation efforts were failing. If digital transformation programs were established to prepare an organisation to be better able to respond to opportunities driven by changing markets and consumer expectations now is no better time to put all this effort to the test.

The truth is that when it comes to digital transformation most organisations have only ever been treading water. The research points to the fact that of all the companies that attempt to transform themselves digitally less than 30% will succeed.

As organisations mature their digital capabilities, they move from working within feature factories where performance is tied to velocity to becoming outcome led where they are better at connecting the work they do to the outcomes they achieve. People who work in outcome led organisations are able to connect everything they do to the value that it drives.

So how you are being asked to respond right now will tell a lot about your organisation’s digital maturity. If you are running hard at a new solution that someone has decided will solve your next business problem. Or if someone believes you have been able to move entire teams out of the office and with the help of one simple collaboration tool maintain the same focus and momentum it is more than likely you have simply gone from treading water to treading water faster.

The reality is if your organisation have not invested in building the capabilities to drive your digital operating model then simply subscribing to Zoom is not going to close that gap. So instead of getting your teams to run hard at the next new feature or solution take a moment to have a good look at the competencies of your teams, identify some of the critical gaps and formulate a plan to close them. It may just help you stop treading water faster and hopefully start swimming.

  • Michael Weeding

A key factor for success of a digital transformation program is the ability of teams to leverage creative ways of working and link this with a faster and ultimately better pipeline for delivery of digital services and solutions. Many teams struggle to align the creative resources that power early stage innovation with the execution teams who deliver product or solutions. Organisations who build a high-performance digital culture that harnesses the power of creativity and link the outputs achieved during early stage innovation through the delivery of initiatives to market are more likely to extract more value from their digital investments. I call this being “commercially creative”.

Creative people think and act differently. They challenge the status quo, are inspired by opportunities and when communicating think and speak in stories. Commercially minded people are more analytical with the ability to collect and analyse information, problem-solve, and make decisions with an objective to improve upon productivity and success. The two types of thinking are critical to the success of a transformation program although they both find it difficult to see value in each other’s work. An analytically minded person will find it difficult to make decisions supported only by insights and intuition. They usually find spaces that foster creativity such as an innovation lab messy and disorganised. On the other hand, creative resources will find those analytically minded too structured and interpret this as an inability to think outside the box.

A team’s creative resources motivated by the opportunity to explore new ways to solve a problem will bring back an array of ideas sourced through qualitative research. They will sell the solution they recommend through stories collected from observing people experiencing real situations highlighting reactions and rationalising the benefits through emotions. When analytical resources are asked to solve a problem, they will deliver a solution validated through the evaluation of data and sell the solution through the connection to easily measurable outputs like efficiencies or financial outcomes.

Through the formation of cross functional teams, we believe that combining the diversity of creative and analytical thinkers will ensure that we are able to creatively identify new opportunities or solutions to our most common problems whilst setting the project up on the right path to deliver positive commercial outcomes. Even with diverse teams many organisations struggle to connect their innovation activities to business outcomes. The solution is not always building bigger backlogs and finding new ways to deliver faster through more sophisticated agile programs. Innovative solutions that have a positive business outcome can be achieved through developing a way of working that connects the unique attributes of your creative and analytically minded resources in a way that empowers them to merge data and design.